This week’s mystery finds a victim shot to death in the back of an ice cream truck in an abandoned part of town. The victim is a Russian immigrant named Anton who drives the ice cream truck owned by his father. The cops aren’t given a whole lot to go on until Ryan examines the back of the truck and discovers that someone had been hiding inside one of the cabinets at the time Anton was shot. They figure in all likelihood the witness is a little kid because they find a field trip permission form left inside the cabinet. There’s no name or prints on the permission slip but the form narrows down the witness’s identity a bit. The form is shown to be printed from Kennedy Elementary School for Mrs. Ruiz second grade class.
They visit the elementary school but they are unable to get the witness to come forward. The principal reasonably points out that as an eight year old, the witness is likely too scared to speak up especially if they get grilled by cops. Beckett suggests trying to bring a more non-threatening authority figure into the classroom in the hopes of getting the mystery kid to confide in them. Naturally, this assignment is given to Castle who feels fairly confident he can gain the kids trust since by his own admission he’s “90% kid” himself.
With Castle on his own adventure this week, the detectives press on with the case. They find out that Anton had been taking graphic design classes at the local community college. His teacher at the college says shortly before Anton’s death she saw him leave with a retired cop named Jafee who’s also found dead and was killed by the same gun that killed Anton.
While looking for a connection between detectives discover the two victims shared a P.O. Box and used it as a dead drop. Later, Anton’s dad shows up at the precinct with some blank passports that he found in Anton’s room. the detectives reach the conclusion that Anton had been using his graphic design class as a cover to print fake passports.
Richard Castle: 2nd Grade Cop
As Castle spends the next couple of days assisting Mrs. Ruiz in her class his tenure as a teacher is decidedly mixed. The kids mostly like him well enough though they aren’t above playing keep away with his wallet and using a set of marbles to make him fall over.
His efforts to identify the witness are largely unsuccessful as he follows a couple of false trails. The first is when he reads a story a kid wrote about a giant threatening him with a gun but that quickly goes nowhere as the kid reveals that he got the idea from watching a movie. Castle follows another wrong road when he bonds with a little girl. At first she’s afraid to tell him what’s bothering her but she eventually admits one of the other kids bullies her. Castle is able to console and give her some decent advice and this would be a relatively nice moment if not for the fact that the little girl misunderstands Castle’s advice and punches her bully in the nose which lands Castle in some hot water. In an effort to avoid a lawsuit from the bully’s parents, the principal makes Castle leave the school but as he does so he finds a drawing of an ice cream truck inside his jacket pocket.
With some help from the teacher they are able to identify the witness as the bully from earlier. After some questioning from Castle and Beckett the kid admits that he wasn’t the one that saw what happened and that it was actually his half-sister. The actual witness’s identity is none other than Anton’s graphic design teacher.
She admits that she had been helping Anton and Jafee with the fake passports and that the reason they were doing it in an effort to help illegal Russian immigrants start new lives for themselves back in Russia. Things were fine for awhile until Anton recognized one of the guys he was making a passport for as a war criminal wanted by Interpol that burned down his village. He killed Anton, Jafee, and a friend of Anton’s named Dmitri to prevent any of them from turning him in and luckily Castle and Beckett are able to catch him at the elementary school trying to steal evidence and make the arrest.
While all of this has been going on, Alexis has been shown to be noticeably more protective of Castle lately. Alexis hasn’t fully recovered from the fallout of Castle’s disappearance and has been compensating by waiting on Castle hand and foot and wanting to know where Castle is at all times. Castle doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal at first but eventually admits things have gotten out of hand when he finds out she’s tracking him through his phone.
When the two finally talk she admits that ever since Castle came back she’s been paranoid about losing him again. Castle is understanding of this mentality since he felt the same way after she got kidnapped a couple seasons ago. Eventually he’s able to convince her to relax and not worry so much about him.
With Castle more or less working on his own this week, this left some good and bad for the episode. On one hand, this gave the other detectives an opportunity to to remind the audience they are perfectly capable without him. Sadly, this also means that there wasn’t any of his crazy theories this week either. Also, even though they were all technically working the same case, there was a feeling of disconnect between the two plot lines. As usual though, Nathan Fillion is able to keep things entertaining with losing battle of wits against 8 year olds.